MRI is a powerful and advanced diagnostic tool that uses a combination of magnetic fields and a powerful magnet to create images of your body. Most MRI machines have a large tube-like cylinder that you lie inside during the procedure. The images are produced by faint signals pieced together to create a 3-D image that can even be viewed at different angles. This provides detailed information needed by a physician to diagnose your condition.

MRI is the most common imaging procedure of the brain or spinal cord, although it can be used for countless procedures. MRI can be used to evaluate joints, vessels, breasts, bones, organs and to look for cancer as determined by your doctor. MRI is also used as a tool to investigate conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, headache and migraines.

Because of the strong magnets, any metals in your body can create a hazard for you, others or the equipment. Tell your physician if you have any devices in your body such as:

  • Metallic joint prostheses
  • Artificial heart valves
  • An implantable heart defibrillator
  • A pacemaker
  • Metal clips to prevent aneurysms from leaking
  • Cochlear implants
  • Bullet, shrapnel or any other type of metal fragment
  • Permanent cosmetics that contain Iron Oxide

MRI can be a noisy experience. It is especially important to prepare children ahead of time and even “practice” the procedure. The quality of your results depends on remaining still while in the MRI tube.

During the procedure, you will lie on an exam table. This table will then slide into the MRI “tube,” which, depending on your procedure, may require that you are entirely inside the procedure equipment. You will have a button in your hand in order to speak to the technician and they will communicate with you throughout the procedure.

Contrast medium is occasionally used with MRI scans to highlight areas within the body. Mild reactions have been reported, such as nausea and itchiness but usually resolve quickly and require no additional care. Rarely, serious side effects have been reported.

If you suffer from claustrophobia, discuss this ahead of time with your doctor as additional medications, such as sedatives, are occasionally used in order to help alleviate anxiety.

Pregnancy and MRI are not very well understood. Although MRI does not contain any radiation, your doctor may recommend choosing an alternative exam or postponing the MRI if it is possible.


Medical Imaging Procedures
  • Take your daily medications as you normally would, unless instructed otherwise.  There are no dietary restrictions for an MRI
  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam and check in at admissions
  • Wear comfortable clothing-without metal if possible
  • If your clothes have any metal fasteners or metallic design, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown
  • Have all piercings and jewelry removed prior to study
  • Please notify physician if you work with metal such as welding or if you may have any metal fragments in your eye-You may need an x-ray prior to MRI
  • A technologist will verify your identifications and the requested exam.  Your screening form will be reviewed by the technologist in consultation with the radiologist if indicated
  • If MRI contrast is indicated for the exam, an IV catheter will be inserted in your arm by a nurse or technologist
  • If your exam has been ordered with contrast that will require us to start an IV, please drink large amounts of fluid the day prior as this allows your body to be well hydrated, potentially reducing the number of needle sticks needed to start the IV
  • Patients over the age of 45 having an exam that requires contrast will need a creatinine blood test prior to the MRI
  • Please contact or inform your Doctor prior to MRI if you may be claustrophobic-you may need a sedative and we are unable to provide that for you on the day of the exam
  • If you are having an MRI of your Lumbar Spine (lower back) and have had prior lumbar surgery please notify Doctor because your study will require contrast
  • Notify your Doctor of any pacemakers, heart valve, aneurysm clips, ocular implants, and any metallic objects, implants, or devices.
  • Divine Saviors weight limit of the MRI scanner is 350 pounds